Greg Stapley

greg stapley

Greg Stapley

My interest in politics is hereditary.

I have a photograph of my paternal great-grandfather, from the then-Territory of Arizona, speaking at the 1911 dedication of what today is known as the Theodore Roosevelt Dam, near my hometown of Phoenix. A prominent farmer and businessman, he was also an influential member of the State’s Constitutional Convention and later a state senator. He shared the podium with President Theodore Roosevelt himself that day.

My maternal grandfather was the Executive Secretary of Arizona’s Interstate Stream Commission, essentially working as the State’s chief lobbyist for many years to bring Colorado River water to the arid deserts of Central and Southern Arizona. He and his colleagues were ultimately successful. One of my earliest “political” memories was visiting with him as a boy while he was living in Washington DC, working on that project. DC was amazing, inspiring, and unforgettable for a wide-eyed and impressionable eight-year-old.

My next political memory was passing out flyers to strangers during my father’s campaign for the post of Maricopa County Treasurer, which he won and held for 22 years. Although his position and longevity made him one of the most influential and respected leaders in the County, he still bristled when anyone referred to him as a “politician.”

Maybe that’s where I acquired my deeply held distrust for “politicians,” and my suspicion that the word “politics” comes from two other words: “poly,” meaning “many,” and “ticks,” meaning (of course) “blood-sucking parasites.”

But that didn’t stop me from going into politics myself. I worked as a professional lobbyist at the Arizona Legislature in the late 80s and early 90s, and in 1990 I ran for the board of the fastest-growing school district in Arizona. I enjoyed my service there, and although I met many of the type of politicians my dad abhorred, I discovered that there were also some very fine people who were trying to do good through public office.
I also learned not to take politics or politicians – especially myself – too seriously.

And I discovered firsthand just how inept and dishonest the media can be. More than once I woke up to television and newspaper reports of public meetings I had participated in just the night before, only to wonder if I had even been there, based on the complete fantasies that were reported. I still cast a jaundiced eye at reporters and their reports.

And so today, while I have given up on the search for reliable media outlets, I still seek office-holders who are not politicians but public servants, behind whom to throw my willing support. In my experience they are rare indeed. That’s why I’m such a huge supporter of Mitt Romney.

I admire the fact that, although as a governor’s son he came from a political environment himself, Mitt did not aspire to office. I admire the fact that when he was privileged to serve, he not only answered the call but also donated his paycheck to charity. I am awestruck that, as a Republican in heavily-Democratic Massachusetts, he was able to not only get himself elected as governor, but that he then proceeded to govern on his own terms, exercising his veto over 800 times. I admire the way he attracts incredible people who surround him, and especially that those who know him best are his most ardent and loyal supporters.
And I especially admire the fact that he only agreed to run when he felt – and was largely convinced by others, including his spectacular wife Ann – that his personal preparation and skill sets were terribly needed by his fellow countrymen at this moment in time. I doubt that he would have run if the economy were in great shape and people were not suffering. He’s certainly entitled to rest on his laurels if he wants to. But he’s not, thankfully.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I could go on and on, and maybe I will in future posts.

So while my personal days in office are long over, I still hope to do more for community and country than just trundle down to the polls every four years and pull the lever. I’m grateful for the invitation to write here, and hopefully, something I post will help someone somewhere cut through the media hype and disinformation, and catch the vision of what a Romney presidency could mean for the White House and America. Or maybe it will just make someone laugh.

I’ll take either one.

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